Regions Financial in Birmingham, Ala., posted a double-digit gain in its first-quarter profit as strong revenue growth more than offset continued deterioration in its energy-loan portfolio.
The $126 billion-asset company reported earnings of $257 million in the quarter, up 18% from the same three-month period last year. Earnings per shared increased 25%, to 20 cents, beating consensus Wall Street estimates by two cents.
Profits were bolstered by strong growth in both consumer and business loans and year-over-year gains in nearly all of its fee-based businesses.
Business loans increased 4.4% year over year, to $51 billion, driven by new relationships in the restaurant and technology sectors. More energy clients tapped unused credit lines during the quarter and that also contributed to the loan growth, Regions said.
Consumer loans increased 4.9%, to $30.5 billion, aided by increases in automobile, mortgage, home equity and, in particular, indirect consumer lending.
Noninterest income rose 7.7% year over year, to $506 million, as fees from capital markets, wealth management and cards and automated teller machines all increased.
Overall, Regions said that revenue increased 6.5% year over year, to nearly $1.4 billion.
Credit quality did weaken during the quarter, however, as some clients in the energy sector struggled to repay their debts. Regions more than doubled its loan-loss provision from a year earlier, to $113 million, as its total criticized loans increased 28%, to $3.6 billion.